It Happened at Menlo College for Phil Durbrow

It Happened at Menlo College for Phil Durbrow

Philip Durbrow is Chairman & CEO of Marshall Strategy, a firm that specializes in developing positioning strategies for a range of national and international clients in finance, technology, real estate, entertainment, healthcare, and education.

His education clients include the University of California system-wide, and individual strategies for UC Berkeley, UCSF, and Berkeley Law. Other clients include Georgetown University, Rockefeller University, Fordham University, and California Institute of Technology.

Durbrow began his education on a football scholarship at Menlo College, where he was president of the class of 1960. He went on to UC Berkeley, University of Nebraska, and Harvard Business School.

None of which would have happened without Menlo, said Durbrow. In his words:

“I grew up under just my mother in Carmel. We were very poor. I hadn’t even considered going to college because of the cost, and was considering the Marines. Then one day I found myself sitting in front of three very nice gentlemen who interviewed me and offered me a football scholarship to Menlo.

The First Thing Menlo did for me was to put me on a track for a college education.

The Second Thing Menlo did for me was to teach me about rowing. Duvall Hecht was my professor and an Olympic Gold Medalist. He set up a crew, using Stanford’s boathouse and equipment, and in our second year we were finalists in the 1960 Olympic Trials.

The Third Thing Menlo did for me was to get me accepted by UC Berkeley. As I was talking to the Menlo College professor, he picked up the phone, called someone at Cal and said he had a great guy, with not so great grades who would be a great addition to the student body. He handed the phone to me and the person he was talking to asked if I was ready to be a serious student. I said I was, and he agreed to accept me. Pretty extraordinary, but a tribute to Berkeley’s respect for Menlo.

The Fourth Thing that Menlo did for me was again done by Professor Hecht. He contacted the Army and told them they had a talented oarsman in their ranks and that I should be assigned for training. This time, my boat won the 1964 Olympic Trials and we were off to Tokyo for the Olympics, where my boat won a bronze medal.

The Fifth Thing Menlo did for me was to enable me to become an Olympian by teaching me the sport and supporting and advocating for me years after I left Menlo.

I finished college on an Army Officer program at University of Nebraska, and later completed an Extended Advanced Management Program at the Harvard Business School.

It all started with that amazing scholarship from Menlo.”